To make pastry, process flour, sugar, butter and ½ tsp salt in a food processor until the mixture resembles crumbs. Whisk egg yolk with 60ml iced water and, with the motor running, add to flour mixture and process until mixture just comes together. Shape pastry into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours.
Meanwhile, place 1 litre water, caster sugar, saffron and lemon juice in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Bring to a simmer, add pears (the liquid should cover them; you might need to weigh them down with a saucer so they don’t float) and cover with a cartouche. Reduce heat to medium–low and poach pears for 30 minutes or until tender. Cool, then cut each pear half into 2 pieces.
Place cream and star anise in a saucepan over medium heat and bring to just below boiling point. Remove from heat and set aside to infuse for 20 minutes.
Preheat oven to 200°C. Remove star anise from cream and reheat. Add chocolate all at once, whisking until smooth. When it’s all evenly textured, remove pan from heat and stir in brandy. Allow to cool.
Roll pastry out to 3 mm thick, then line a deep, 24 cm pie dish or tart pan with the pastry. Prick all over with a fork, then place in freezer for 30 minutes. Line pastry with baking paper and fill with baking weights or uncooked rice. Bake for 20 minutes, then remove weights and paper and bake for a further 5 minutes or until just dry to touch. Set aside to cool.
Reduce oven temperature to 160°C. Spread the star anise-flavoured ganache over the pastry shell. Pop the pears onto the ganache and bake tart for 25 minutes or until the ganache is just set. Cool completely, then serve dusted with icing sugar.